This past Tuesday I attended a wonderful author-talk at a local independent bookseller downtown and upon arriving back at the parking lot found I had a parking ticket on my windshield. I was very confused as the time I had purchased had not yet expired and a friend, who's time had actually expired had no ticket. It wasn't until I had returned home that I read that the ticket was for not having a front license plate. I was not aware that the front plate was missing but decided I better do something about it before I get another ticket.
Our daughter, with some free time on her hands, went to the Clerk and Recorder's Office to get the new plates. Apparently this is not possible here in our town as you need to be actually listed on the registration to get the new plates. She was also told that we would need to file a police report for the missing plate before we could get the new ones.
So......I called the local sheriff's office as our home is in an unincorporated part of our city. Before I could get much of the story out, they transferred me to the city offices. Of course, when the city officer heard the story they said I would have to talk to the sheriff. She also said to make sure I quickly told them I lived in the county so they wouldn't transfer me again.
So.....I'm back on the phone with the sheriff's office and before I could get very much out they were going to transfer me again! I quickly said, "No, no.....listen to me please!" Well, apparently there was some big case they were working on and didn't have the time to listen to a missing license plate story so they told me they'd have someone call me later. About two hours later an officer from a nearby city called me. The first thing he says to me is, "Hi, how are you doing today?" The caller ID of course told me he was from another city's police department and I immediately think something bad has happened! But, not to worry. When I told him I was doing fine he then told me he'd been asked to call me about a missing license plate. I told him the story but he said it really wasn't in his jurisdiction, that I should call the sheriff's department, and that I also should dispute the ticket. It seems his city doesn't give out tickets for missing front plates.
So........he transferred me back to the sheriff's office where I was finally able to file the missing plate case! The very lovely officer gave me her name, badge number, and case number--and then said, "You of course are going to dispute the ticket, aren't you?"
Next morning...........armed with the important police info I went to the Clerk and Recorder's office. I told the lady I needed to get new plates as my front plate was missing and I had gotten a ticket. She took my old back plate and gave me the new ones, for $7.36. She NEVER asked about a police report! She never even asked for my ID. But she did say, "You are going to dispute the ticket, aren't you?" Hmmmmmmmmmm.....I'm sensing a pattern here.
But wait...........I still have to put the new plates onto my car. The plates didn't come with nuts/bolts but the nice lady told me there was a vending machine in the lobby. Bought the four nuts/bolts and took them out to the parking lot. OK, this will be easy. I certainly can use a screwdriver and in fact had one in the car.
But...............This was not going to work as the holes in the car and the ones in the license plate DON'T LINE UP!I drove to our local hardware store and with the license plate in hand I bought a license plate holder:
Lots of holes.........now I could finish up this project.
But................the bolts were too small. They just kept falling out. There was nothing for them to grab on to. No problem, I'll put the nuts on them.
But...........there was no way to get back there. The bumper is apparently one big piece with no way to access the inside. So, off I go to a car parts store to see if they can help. Nope--nothing they have can help other than suggest I go to the Ford dealership to see if they have something. But wait....that dealership left in the middle of the night a couple months ago. So, back to the hardware store.
A very knowledgeable older man resembling Santa Claus said he had the solution:He didn't tell me what they were called but these "thingies" go into the holes in the bumper, then you pull them tight, put on the license plate holder, and then tighten the nuts. Once those are all in place you snip off the unneeded portion of the thingies and melt the ends so the nuts don't fall off. I was a bit nervous about having an open flame near my car, not knowing whether the gasoline in the car was anywhere nearby, but I managed to melt the ends. I could then attach the new front plate and I was finished.
Well..........almost....................I faxed the disputed ticket to the municipal court. I had originally thought I'd just pay the fine as I had certainly deserved it by not having a front plate. But hey, even the police told me to dispute it! I'll have to wait up to two weeks to see if I'm free of the ticket. It surely can't be that easy though.